Michigan found itself in the same spot as last year’s bowl season. We are gearing up for the semi-finals of the College Football Playoffs. The No. 2 Wolverines will be a very different opponent as they attempt to make it to the title game.
They were bullied by Georgia’s very talented defense a year ago in the Orange Bowl, losing 34-11. This year’s Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve will see the No. 3 TCU’s powerful offense designed by the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
The teams that survive the semifinal game in Glendale, Arizona will face the winners of Georgia and Ohio in the national championship game on January 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
TCU’s Max Duggan, who recently declared his name in the NFL Draft, had just four interceptions this season for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns. He added his touchdown on his six rushes as the Horned Frogs (12-1) remained undefeated until an overtime loss to Kansas State in his game of the Big 12 Championship.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh calls the TCU offense a “scoring machine” controlled by Duggan.
“It’s nothing short of a tremendous respect for his type of player, and preparing a quarterback like that is going to be a huge challenge,” Harbaugh said.
TCU averages 40.3 points per game, ranking 6th in the nation. While Duggan spreads the ball, the Horned Frogs rely on Kendre Miller in the running game, who rushed for his 1,342 yards and his 17 touchdowns.
Wolverines linebacker Michael Barrett said, “They’re balanced in their passing and running games. “They’re really good at both. It’s going to be a good test for our defense at all levels.”
Horned Frogs’ Sonny Dykes knows that if his team wins, he’s likely to score high.
“One of the things we have to do is rely on our strengths, our speed and our ability to get the ball down the field,” he said in a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan. “We’re going to have to hit shots and make contested plays.”
The Horned Frogs will try to pull it off against a Wolverines unit that ranks 4th in scoring defense, 3rd in rushing defense, and 5th in passing yards.
“I think they’re very well coached and play very well on both sides of the ball,” Duggan said. We do. It will make our job harder.”
Dykes revived TCU’s program in his first season as head coach. The Horned Frogs haven’t even been to his game in the last three seasons.
The Wolverines (13-0) already set a school record for most wins in a season. They are looking to finish undefeated for the first time since taking their share of the national championship in 1997. At the time, it was still decided by public opinion polls.
Michigan is without number one running back Blake Colm, who underwent knee surgery earlier this month. Donovan Edwards has proven to be more than a capable backup.
Edwards rushed for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns against arch-rival Ohio State, and 185 yards and 1 touchdown against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship.
“You have to try to match their physique,” Dykes said. “You have to play tough. You have to be able to stop running. Michigan is one of the few teams in college football that will run the ball no matter what.”
Quarterback JJ McCarthy threw for six combined touchdowns against the Buckeyes and Boilermakers. He was intercepted only three times.
“I don’t think there is a better person,” Harbaugh said. “Our man, he never panics.”
–Field level media
https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/273267896/no-3-tcu-expects-no-2-michigan-to-run-no-matter-what-in-semifinal?utm_source=feeds.bignewsnetwork.com&utm_medium=referral No. 3 TCU expects No. 2 Michigan to run ‘no matter what’ in semifinals